The Red Arrows have unveiled a new tail-fin design for their famous planes, to mark 50 years of air displays across the country.
The Union flag design which will appear on all of the planes, was revealed at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire today. The team is hoping to have all of the Hawk planes displaying the design in time for a training trip to Cyprus at the end of March.
The RAF Red Arrows have revealed the new paint scheme for the tails of their jets. It forms part of the display team's 50th anniversary.
The Red Arrows will unveil a new look for their famous jets later today, as the team marks its 50th display season this year.
The livery is being unveiled at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
In a statement, the father of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham says his son died doing what he loved, adding that the family are struggling to accept how many opportunities were missed which could have prevented his death.
Flight Lieutenant Cunningham's father Jim Cunningham said:
“Our son Sean died aged 35 doing what he loved which was flying with the Red Arrows. From the age of 17, he had wanted nothing more than to join the Royal Air Force and serve his country, which he did with utmost pride and sense of duty.
“He served a number of tours in Iraq flying Tornados in close air support of coalition forces. Sean’s death was a tragedy which we hope the evidence revealed in this Inquest, will help to avoid in the future.
“We still find it difficult to accept that so many people could have missed, between Sean’s last sortie on Friday and the following Tuesday, what should have been obvious to those having a duty to ensure the safety of the seat, and we remain unconvinced as to that aspect of the Coroner’s finding.
“Nevertheless, we accept that how the seat firing handle came to be in a position where it could be inadvertently activated may never be fully understood.
"We welcome the conclusions of the Coroner which confirm what we knew all along, which is that Sean was blameless and his tragic death was preventable.
"We therefore welcome the Coroner’s recommendations, which we hope and pray will ensure that no family such as ours, has to endure such a pointless and avoidable death."
The manufacturer of the ejector seat says it has learned lessons after the death of a Red Arrows pilot who died after being accidentally ejected from his Hawk T1.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham was killed at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire in November 2011. He did not separate from the ejector seat and his parachute did not deploy because a shackle had jammed.
Martin-Baker says it has 'taken steps to alert all [of its] customers worldwide who use this type of seat of the risk of over tightening the shackle'.
We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Flight Lieutenant Cunningham's family and friends. Martin-Baker is a family owned company producing vital equipment for people doing a dangerous and important job. We take our responsibilities to these individuals very seriously and we are all deeply saddened by this terrible accident.
The ejection seat is qualified to save a life on a ground level ejection. On this occasion, uniquely in the entire history of Martin-Baker ejection seats using this particular feature, it failed due to a shackle bolt being too tight. This prevented the main parachute from deploying.
Lessons have been learned and we have taken steps to alert all our customers worldwide who still use this type of seat, of the risk of over tightening the shackle.
Furthermore, our designers, working closely with military experts have developed a new type of shackle bolt and firing handle housing, which both Martin-Baker and the military authorities consider will prevent the reoccurrence of the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.
Martin-Baker is proud to be able to say that, since 1946, it has led the world in the design development and manufacture of ejection seats. As of today's date, these seats have saved 7436 lives, seven in this month alone.
A coroner has criticised the manufacturer of an ejector seat, which led to the death of Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham.Read the full story ›
The inquest into the death of a Red Arrows pilot is due to end today.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham from Coventry died at RAF Scampton in November 2011 when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was still on the ground.
An inquest has been told that the Red Arrows have cut back on flying displays after the death of pilot Sean Cunningham.
The 35-year-old from Coventry died at RAF Scampton in November 2011 when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was on the ground.
Group Commander David Bentley. who oversees the aerobatics team, has told a hearing in Lincoln that the reduction in the number of displays was one of a number of changes made after the fatal incident:
""We are doing less. We have more people. We have better oversight and we have better communications."
The coroner is due to deliver his verdict later this week.
An official from the company which made the ejector seat used by Red Arrows pilot Sean Cunningham has told an inquest into his death the firm should have warned the RAF not to over-tighten a vital nut.
The inquest heard that seat manufacturers Martin Baker only warned some of its customers that if a nut was too tight the ejector seat chute was likely to fail.
The RAF was not told.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham from Coventry died when his ejector seat activated on the ground at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire in 2011.
The inquest continues on Thursday.
An inquest has heard the death of a Red Arrows pilot put the spotlight on a shortfall in staffing at their Lincolnshire base.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died at RAF Scampton in November 2011 when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was on the ground.
Air Commodore George Martin, who was chief air engineer at the time, told Central Lincolnshire Coroner's Court more staff were being brought in around the time but the incident highlighted the need to rectify the shortfall.